Cloud plays both sides of the coin with disaster recovery

Times have been rough lately for technological wunderkind cloud computing, at least when compared to some of its previous hype. As it continues to grow and mature, the new car smell is starting to wear off and, while it still offers all the benefits it did from the onset, skeptics are beginning to come out of the woodwork. Because of that, the cloud is taking the heat for nearly every security problem in sight.

With these more tempered expectations, companies still are moving to cloud services at a furious pace. While these growing concerns should not keep organizations out of the cloud, Ashutosh Garg and Joshua Levy, writing for Forbes, noted that the technology now has to enter into plans for disaster recovery.

Cloud computing can play a major role in that planning on the positive side, thanks to the possibilities offered by online backup and recovery. However, because of the potential risks in the cloud – with the late June derecho that knocked Amazon’s cloud briefly offline noted by Garg and Levy – there also needs to be a plan for other solutions as well.

Assessing the cloud

For companies moving to the cloud, the pair of industry experts pointed out two of the major criteria that must be evaluated and planned for in any disaster plan: durability and availability. Planning for how to keep data safe from loss and systems running in the event of a disaster is a key stage in that evaluation.

Garg and Levy don’t believe that using the cloud means less reliability in terms of backup, especially when using multiple availability zones. But because of the high number of services utilizing the cloud, one failure may have a widespread impact. Just as with any other solution, it makes sense to be extra sure and plan for the worst.

If companies “design for failures,” as the pair wrote, and are ready to recover from disaster, the cloud can be a major asset instead of a troubling variable in the equation. The cloud may be no more at risk than any other storage and backup option, but the fear of the unknown can be a scary factor.

While cloud computing could instill fear in the hearts of many hesitant IT professionals, the potential for all the good it can do is still there. For every extra concern it forces into the disaster recovery discussion, it helps calm two more. Because if something happens to the other backup, the cloud will likely still be there, ready to step in.